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MARCH 7, 2001

Herbert tops times on return to cockpit

JOHNNY HERBERT made an impressive return to Formula One on Wednesday as he topped the times during testing for Arrows at Silverstone.

Herbert, who left the Jaguar Racing team at the end of last season, recorded a fastest time of one minute and 25.429 seconds on his first return to the cockpit since the Malaysian Grand Prix in October.

Herbert, driving the A21 car from last season, was fractionally faster than Benetton test driver Mark Webber, with Jaguar testers Tomas Scheckter and Pedro de la Rosa coming in third and fifth respectively. It was De la Rosa's first appearance for the team.

"I've had a really good day today," said Herbert. "Obviously it's great to be in a Formula 1 car again and I'm enjoying working with the Arrows team.

"The guys are great and it's a really friendly atmosphere. To be honest, I was surprised with how the car handled, but we still have a lot of work to do.

"I was expecting there to be a lot more problems we would have to sort out, but I'm relatively happy with the way things have gone.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow as I'll be driving the A22 and it will be good to see the characteristics of this season's car which will be more advantageous for us.

"We can now start work on developing it and ironing out some of the problems the team had in Melbourne."

BMW-Williams test-driver Marc Gene ran sets of times in the FW22/B and the FW22/A cars with the team concentrating on development work on the suspension and gearbox.

Times after Wednesday's test at Silverstone:





JOHNNY HERBERT Arrows-Asiatech 1:25.429


MARK WEBBER Benetton-Renault 1:25.790


PEDRO DE LA ROSA Jaguar 1:26.633


MARC GENE Williams-BMW FW22/B 1:27.056


TOMAS SHECKTER Jaguar 1:27.772